Burned by a Publicist? Contributed By Aggie Villanueva To
Aggie Villanueva

A published author at Thomas Nelson before she was 30, bestselling author Aggie Villanueva published Chase the Wind, and Rightfully Mine, both Thomas Nelson 1980s. Villanueva is also a critically acclaimed photographic artist represented by galleries nationwide, including Xanadu Gallery in Scottsdale, AZ. She founded Visual Arts Junction blog Feb. 2009. By the end of the year it was voted #5 at Predators & Editors in the category “Writers’ Resource, Information & News Source” for 2009. Aggie is founder of Promotion á la Carte, author promotional services. Contact Villanueva at

By Aggie Villanueva
Published on September 9, 2010

Aggie Villanueva Discusses What You Should Expect From A Book Publicist?

Shelling out your hard earned money for book promotion is hard enough, but add being burned by a publicist and it can makes your marketing situation unbearable. Marketing is hard enough for most authors without creating problems where we are suppose to help.

As publicists for my company, Promotion a la Carte, Nanci Arvizu and I have heard many nightmares recounted. So let’s talk about what you have every right to expect from your publicist, and they from you.

We don’t even have to go into the details from these nightmare scenarios. Most problems seem to arise from lack of communication with the author, lack of time spent with them, or unrealistic expectations about what publicity is.

*What You Should Expect for Your Publicity Buck

    *You should expect to talk by Skype or phone about the services offered, and your expectations, until you reach an initial decision. You should be free to ask any and all question, and talk with them more than once if needed. If we promote your work we should work closely with you, especially in the beginning.
    * You should expect to talk by Skype or phone calls with your publicist whenever you request thereafter. Publicists can get so expert at their niche services they forget how foreign the process is to the author. You should never be made to feel you are intruding on their time. You need a relationship that makes you feel as if you’re partnering, and indeed you are.
     * You should be kept informed by email of the progress as it happens. If nine reviewers or interviewers have said “yes” you should receive the details as it happens. Sometimes it will be six months before you are scheduled for their show or blog, but you should be put in touch with them immediately.
      * Sign a contract that clearly details what the publicists will do and what is expected from you b y the publicist.  As in all business associations you need to get it in writing.
     * You should expect other documentation, or else personal instruction, from your publicist about what to expect and how to do it, such as our instructions page, I’ve Paid: What Do I Do Now?
      *Unrealistic expectations. There is sometimes confusion about the role publicist play in your marketing campaign. Be aware we’re hired only to promote you and your work. Publicists can’t guarantee sales, and shouldn’t. That is simply not our field. Book sales may not be an immediate result of the work we do for you because publicity has nothing to do with sales. But it’safe to say that without publicity you will most likely never see those sales.
      *Refunds. Should you expect a full or partial refund if dissatisfied? Once work has started that is usually unreasonable to request. But you should expect enough communication up front for you to know for sure if you want to use the service. Although, if you’ve already paid, but the publicist hasn’t invested much work and nothing has actually been sent out in your behalf, personally I feel it’s reasonable to ask for a 70% refund. Once that contract is signed though, you most likely will not get a refund at all because you are not legally entitled.

   *What Your Publicist Should Expect From You
      *Your best efforts. Promotion takes a lot of work and time from you also. But if you’ve chosen the right publicist the work will be truly enjoyable and satisfying to all.
      *Don’t argue with your publicist about doing things a different way. They know best how to accomplish their services.  Don’t waste time trying to convince them otherwise or making them defend and explain their methods. If you don’t like their processes don’t hire them.
      *Respond to every contact we send you within 24 hours.  Whether we are setting up interviews/reviews or getting sponsors for your contest(s), or a full 3-day book party or virtual book tour, there will be lots of back and forth communication between you, us and those we are promoting you to. In fact it may seem overwhelming at times as the emails shoot around your inbox and you try to keep everyone in the loop.
      *We make publicizing you and your work our priority. So please make your publicist yours. I once had a client who, when I’d sent a list of what I needed from her, that she’d put it on her to-do list! Though some contacts are booked up to six months before they can get to you, you must put the publicity requirements first and tend to them immediately or we won’t be ready six month down the line when they scheduled you.
     * Let your creativity flow. Your book/product/event may be so unique that you want to create prizes, etc., completely different from previous contests, etc. You and your product are unique and we want to treat it as such. So don’t hold anything back.